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How To Prepare Walls For Painting

Painting around your home can be a chore. Besides the expense of the paint itself, you're looking at setting aside a large portion of your day to the actual painting. So it's frustrating then, if you go to all of the bother of painting only to find that paint peeling or cracking only a few months to a year later. You should be able to trust that your paint job will last but if it doesn't, there's a very good chance that this is because there wasn't adequate preparation made before the actual painting began.

Preparing adequately for painting isn't easy though. In many cases, it may take as much if not more time than the actual painting itself. Doing it well can require meticulous attention to details, and requires a great deal of time. If you do it right though your paint will last far longer and look much nicer.

Look For and Patch Holes - Checking for minor imperfections is an important place to start. To make it easier, take a flashlight and hold it close to the wall at an angle as you go around the room. This will allow small bumps or dents to be more easily spotted in the angled light. Mark each spot with a small piece of painter's tape or a dry erase marker. Once you've checked the whole room, go through to correct each spot. Some of the bumps may be caused by nails or screws being pushed out of the wall, this happens over time as the studs expand and contract due to moisture and temperature changes. These will need to be corrected. Dents or holes will need to be patched using spackle or patches, depending on the size of the dents and material of your walls.

Sand Away - Gently sanding the walls will help remove previous layers of paint or wallpaper, as well as correct any remaining imperfections in the wall. This will also allow the primer and paint to grip the surface better and stick long term. A very fine 220-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge will do well here for covering your patched spots, though you may need more if you're dealing with previous layers of paint. There are a number of tools available that combine a power sander with a vacuum setting to help remove previous paint layers. Also, if your home is older, you'll need to test for lead in your old paint before proceeding. If it tests positive, you'll need to take additional safety steps, and it would be beneficial to reach out to a professional for advice or assistance.

Clean Up - Finally, before you begin, it's important to give the room a thorough cleaning. Any dust or cobwebs will need to be cleared. Use a damp sponge to wipe the walls clean, then dry them using a towel. By clearing away particulates like dust, you ensure a smooth surface for the paint to be applied to. This also ensure that this small bits aren't trapped beneath the layers of primer and paint, which would cause it to peel and crack prematurely.

With these steps completed, you can now apply your painter's tape, put down your drop cloths and begin to paint away! By taking the time to properly prepare your walls, you've gone a long way to ensuring that your paint job will be a successful one. If you have any other questions about how to prepare for your next painting project, check in with our helpful staff.